Ethiopia postpones Nile dam talks by 5 days

Ethiopia has asked Egypt to postpone talks on the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam in Sudan to December 11, said Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday, one day before the December 6 meeting.
According to the Egyptian ministry, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom made the request to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shokri during a meeting on the sidelines of an African-Chinese summit in South Africa Saturday.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have witnessed disagreements concerning the methods used by the Dutch and French consultancy firms assigned to run technical studies on the effects of the Ethiopian undertaking.
Egypt and Sudan fear the Ethiopian project, announced in 2010, will affect their share of the historical Nile River agreement signed in the 1950s. Ethiopia maintains its project will not harm the interests of the downstream countries.
The spokesperson for Egypt’s foreign ministry, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said that Adhanom had apparently received directives from his government to be present during “an important visit" to Kenya on the same date of the meeting and wished Egypt would “be understanding" about the reason for the postponement.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed that the Ethiopian dam issue was not on the agenda during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, adding that intensive negotiations were underway over planned technical studies around the Ethiopian undertaking and Egypt’s water needs.
“As part of the negotiations, Egypt seeks to preserve its historical share of the Nile River water and ensure that the period during which the water is being stored in the Ethiopian dam does not affect that share,” Ismail told his escorting media delegation.
Also on Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi convened with Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazi to follow-up on political and technical developments on the issue.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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